Monday, May 28, 2012

STELLA BUIO Production Diary: 8 Days Until Principal Photography.

I’m sitting here, listening to my friend Miguel Rodriguez talk to Matthew Kelly about John Carpenter’s The Fog, when I realized with a start that it’s May 28. Counting on my fingers, we start filming Stella Buio in eight days. I’ve never had so much pre-production time on a film before, which you wouldn’t think would be true because I’m the producer, but it is true. When I “get excited and make something”, it’s usually a pretty quick process and that’s what I’m used to. When it comes to “proper” filmmaking, with the paperwork and professional actors and crew and all that, you really have to be a little more patient.
This script originally came about because my partner-in-crime, Chris Cline, said, “Hey, we should write a giallo together...” Giallo has turned into a catch-all phrase for 70s Italian horror cinema, but it really refers to gorgeous, lurid, pulp-y Italian murder mysteries like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. I love gialli, don’t get me wrong, but my favourite films from that era in Italian filmmaking are films like City of the Living Dead, Black Sabbath, and Suspiria. When he brought this up, I went off and wrote the first draft of the script influenced by my likes, and let it sit for a minute, then I edited and sent him the second draft. Chris loved the second draft and said that he didn’t even want to touch it. I did a little more editing to it and then locked it.
It had to go onto the shelf, though, because at the time, I had a few other projects I needed to get to before I made Stella Buio (I wrote it a couple of years ago, while I was still working at the movie theatre), but when a short film fell through earlier this year, I pulled this out and said, “I am going to make this.”
And make it I will.
Firstly, I knew that I’d need some money. All of my stuff in the past has been very low budget because I had to pay for it out of pocket and my pockets are shallow. Film festival submissions are the most expensive thing for a low-budget indie filmmaker at $35 a pop (on average), but also, I’m not very good at lighting and I need someone to do special effects. And, I’d like to not have to design my poster art myself.  And there’s someone I really, really want to work with. So, I decided to start an IndieGoGo campaign so I could pay the people I’m bringing on board.
I chose IndieGoGo because I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to raise the full amount of my estimated budget ($10,000, but that, unlike quite a few productions I’ve seen that crowdfund their budgets and then come back looking for “finishing costs”, includes everything), but IndieGoGo lets you keep what you’ve earned. Like I say in every plea for help, every little bit helps. Kickstarter is great because it does instill more trust that the money will be used for what it’s intended, but if you don’t raise the full amount, you get nothing. I was (and am) making this film regardless so it truly is a matter of every little donation helping to make the film (you can donate here= ).
As I said before, I’m not very good at lighting. I’m not afraid of admitting my limitations. Thankfully, I know someone who IS good at lighting. I’ve known Wheat for a few years now thanks to the wonderful Sage Hall. He does a lot of cinematography and is truly ace at sculpting and painting with light. I shoot my own stuff 
Effects. Normally, I have to rely on VFX more than I’m comfortable with because I LOVE practical effects so so so much. For this, I wanted and needed to dedicate as much money as I could to good, solid practical effects and the first name that came to mind was a friend I’ve had since I worked in his haunted houses in high school: Greg Baker. I knew he’d be able to get me what I needed and keep the cost down if it came to that (and it did).
Earlier this year, I was in L.A. while an exhibit was going on featuring a new friend I met in Vancouver, B.C.: Bonni Reid. What I saw literally blew my mind (of what was there, that piece is my favourite, but click here to explore her website.) As soon as I saw these pieces, I knew that I wanted to work with her. And when my shoot in February / March fell apart and I picked up Stella Buio, I knew THIS was the project to work on with her.
As for casting, the first person I cast was Chris Cline as the zombie. He knows exactly what I’m going for here. My friend Shawn McBee was second. Thirdly, I cast Linnea Quigley. In my genre, when you see a name like Linnea Quigley attached to a film, it’s usually a stunt to get people to pay attention. But let’s be honest...this is a short film. I’m not trying to sell anything on her name. Ever since I realized that I wanted (and could) make horror films, I’ve wanted to work with Linnea Quigley and I’m incredibly fortunate that she came on board.
I’ve known of Melanie Robel for a while now thanks to the wonders of Facebook, but Linnea was the one who recommended her to me and the rest of the cast trickled down from there. I’m really excited to work with all of eight days! WOW!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stella Buio production video blogs.

So, I've started making video blogs for the production of the new flick. It's not something I've ever done before and, if you know me at all you know this is so not my thing, but I need to promote my work, right? So, here it is. We're about a week away from shooting and I've made two videos. This one is my favourite, it's the reality of doing paperwork. You can't tell me that you don't do the same thing...

We're still accepting donations! We haven't made our goal, but every little bit helps because we're going to make the film regardless! And if you don't like IndieGoGo or want to do the public thing, just leave a comment with your email and we'll talk! (Sorry for the extra step, but my spam has been very interesting

Thursday, May 10, 2012

STELLA BUIO full cast announced!

I've finalized my cast and now feel comfortable listing the full cast for my new short film, Stella Buio!

First, we have Lance Flint playing the character of Frederick, one of Julie's brothers.

Constant readers with long memories might remember the next two names from earlier Kimyoo Films productions. Chris Cline, who played the Priest in my film A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema and A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: and be at rest, will be playing the lead zombie, Philip. This script came about because he wanted to work on a giallo-style script with me and while this film isn't technically giallo, and he had little to do with the plot of this one, I still say he came up with the concept. Also, Shawn McBee, my cinematographer on Without/Within and a producer on Without/Within and A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema, will be making his formal acting bow as Victor, Julie's other brother.

Lastly, Laura D'Anieri will be playing Greta, the family matriarch (like I said in my announcement on the Stella Buio campaign page, I love that word...matriarch.)

They join the previously announced Melanie Robel as our lead protagonist Julie and Linnea Quigley as our lead antagonist, and title character, Stella Buio.

I'm so incredibly excited for this flick, you have no idea!

26 days!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

thoughts on Fangoria Legends presents: GEORGE A. ROMERO

I should preface this with the following full disclosure: I love George A. Romero. His Dead cycle specifically has informed my work almost as much as Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street, but his philosophy about filmmaking in genre is in there, too. For the record, my favourite of the Dead cycle is Day of the Dead.

Also, I love Fangoria. I haven't had a subscription as long as some of my counterparts because I couldn't afford it until I was in my late 20s, but I've been getting it off-and-on since I was at least eleven or twelve years old (unlike most people, I'm not afraid of my age: I turn 34 this October). I still have some of my older issues. For a long time, however, it became increasingly difficult to read Fango because they gave everything away in the interviews and major pieces on the films they were covering. If I already wanted to see the film they were writing about, I would skip the article entirely. If I started to read an article for a film I didn't know about and became interested in it, I would be spoiled for the plot. Then Chris Alexander came in and while I won't say that the spoiler situation has changed too much, I will say that he's brought some of my favourite pieces back to the mag and done some really good things with it. Yes, I say this even in spite of his...interesting...comments about Women in Horror Month.

When I heard that Fango was doing a line of special issues dedicated to the greats, I gigglesnorted and chairdanced as I'm sure most of my fellow horror fans did (but won't admit to because, you know, they're too cool for that). I plunked down my $9.99 plus shipping for the first issue, which is dedicated to George A. Romero, months ago and it was delivered to my P.O. box from which I picked it up yesterday.

It's very pretty and well put together. The interview with Romero at the end is strangely short and I would've loved to have heard ANYTHING from Lori Cardille or Gaylen Ross or Judith O'Dea. I mean, they interviewed Lynn Lowry from The Crazies, why not the ladies of the Dead cycle as well? And they interviewed John Russo, John Amplas, and Tom Savini, but where are Ken Foree or Joe Pilato or Russell Streiner? Also, if they're going to charge $10 for a special issue, there shouldn't be adverts for things not directly related to the subject. Such as, why are there adverts for Dark Night of the Scarecrow or Lost or Forgotten Photography on the first two pages? This isn't a standard issue of Fango, guys. As the blood spatter on the front says, it's an "ALL NEW SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION ISSUE!" And let me repeat: it doesn't come as part of the subscription. You have to order it separately for $9.99 plus shipping.

All right, now that that's off my chest, I can get to the nitty-gritty of why I'm actually writing this post. I'm not an expert; I'm a huge freakin' fan. Reading these pieces, it's easy to tell that these writers are fans, too. So imagine my surprise when I get to page 8 in which Fango editor Chris Alexander makes a mistake while recounting the plot of Romero's seminal NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD for those who've never seen the original: he says that Barbra and Johnny visit the grave of their mother. Uh, no. Not in the original. In the original, Johnny and Barbra are visiting the grave of their father at the behest of their mother. (2:30 into the video I linked to here.) In the Tom Savini-directed remake from 1990, they're visiting the grave of their mother.

Fast forward to the Dawn of the Dead piece, also written by Chris Alexander. On page 24/25 is this quote in the recap of the film's plot: "It's the end of the world - perhaps following Night, perhaps in another universe altogether." It's the same universe. Dawn starts in the Night, if you will, and when Stephen (Flyboy) flies the helicopter over the field of rednecks out hunting the ghouls, that's the end of Night. Because Dawn takes place over several months, it's possible to correlate the end of Dawn to the beginning of Day except for the fact that the ghouls aren't as decomposed at the end of Dawn (a slight technical issue, but one worth noting.)

And then we get to the Day of the Dead piece written by Sean Smithson. On page 36, Smithson misquotes the film by saying that the underground caverns are a "three-mile-long-tombstone." What John actually says is that it's a "great big, 14 mile tombstone." (Specifically around the 1:15 mark in the video I linked to.) (Smithson graciously ignores the fact that Romero screwed up in placing the film in Florida, where I live. You can't have underground caverns here, not without some major water issues.)

As for the rest of the pieces (including Land, Diary, and Survival), they're correct as far as I can tell. I really like Land and Diary, but have only seen Survival twice. Knightriders and Creepshow are probably my favourite of his non-Dead films. Martin's a great take on vampire lore, but I've never been a big vampire fan so it ranks fairly low only for that reason. But, because my nerdity doesn't extend as much to the rest of Romero's oeuvre, I can't verify if the pieces are correct. My point is that I, and other fans like me, shouldn't have to. That's the job of the people writing the pieces and, finally, Chris Alexander's job as editor of the magazine. Typos happen. Mistakes happen. But so many mistakes in an "ALL NEW SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION ISSUE!" from Fangoria, the preeminent American horror movie magazine? Disappointing.

Let's lighten things up (yeah, yeah, it's mainly sci-fi...)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stella Buio fundraising

I'm raising money for my new short film which is called STELLA BUIO. It's in the vein of classic Italian zombie flicks from the 70s like Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, and THE BEYOND with lighting in the vein of Mario Bava (specifically "The Drop of Water" from BLACK SABBATH and Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA.) I've got less than a month to raise the funds via IndieGoGo. It's more ambitious than I've done in the past. I've got someone handling the lighting for me (Wheat!), I've got someone handling the practical effects for me (Greg Baker of Divine Imagery!), I've got a professional artist doing my poster art (Bonni Reid!) and I'm bringing in some immensely talented actors such as Melanie Robel and the legendary Linnea Quigley. My brother, Shawn Bowen of World Collision, will be handling the score for me and if you go to the gallery page of my campaign, you can hear sample of the tracks he's already sent to me. The $10,000 goal encompasses everything: practical effects, props, food, gasoline, hotel rooms, actors, festival fees, promotional materials, post-production, everything. I won't come back a month or two later asking for more money for this project or finishing funds or money to help me get to festivals or anything like that. This money does not go to me, it goes toward making what I think will be an awesome, fun short film. If we don't meet the goal, the film will be made anyway. If you want to help, but you're uncomfortable with online donations, email me at Kimyoo . Films @ gmail . com. If you can't donate, but want to help, please pass the link to the IndieGoGo campaign to others.